The Corpus Callosum

Merry Christmas

And what could be better than this?

of the neo-con dream

By Paul Reynolds
World Affairs correspondent

The neo-conservative dream faded in 2006.

The ambitions proclaimed when the neo-cons’ mission statement “The
Project for the New American Century” was declared in 1997 have turned
into disappointment and recriminations as the crisis in Iraq has grown.

“The Project for the New American Century” has been reduced
to a voice-mail box and a ghostly website. A single employee has been
left to wrap things up…
[emphasis added]

They saw the war in Iraq as their big chance of showing how the “New
American Century” might work.

They predicted the development of democratic values in a region lacking
in them and, in that way, the removal of any threat to the United
States just as the democratisation of Germany and Japan after World War
II had transformed Europe and the Pacific…

“Neo-conservatism has gone for a generation, if in fact it ever
returns,” says one of the movement’s critics, David Rothkopf, currently
at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, and a former official in the
Clinton administration…

“The US use of force has been seen as doing wrong and as inflaming a
region that has been less than susceptible to democracy.

“Their plan has fallen on hard times. There were flaws in the
conception and horrendously bad execution. The neo-cons have been
undone by their own ideas and the incompetence of the Bush

Good riddance.  The whole project was a menance to


  1. #1 Joe Shelby
    December 25, 2006

    Personally, I think any claims for the neocons having an idealism of “bringing democracy to the middle east” are totally bogus.

    Iraq was a totally pragmatic decision based on the REAL target: Iran.

    Iran is hard to beat. More population, more dedicated to their leadership (or so we thought), more religious and fanatical, larger military not hampered by consenting to a post-war treaty with the UN, and on the verge of nukes and having at least the capabilities of making dirty bombs.

    So either we delt with Iran directly or scared them into submission.

    Attacking Iraq so soon after Afghanistan was meant to scare Iran. The idea was that having 2 quick successful victories on either side of Iran’s borders, an ally (of sorts – Pakistan) on the third, and the navy in the Gulf and Indian Ocean, a surrounded Iran would be militarily too scared to actually try to fight us and they’d back down on their nuke policies.

    THIS is why stabilizing Iraq was never part of the plan. They were so focussed on getting that shiny new victory to scare Iran with (“mission accomplished” indeed) that they really didn’t imagine the future of Iraq past that point. Get the 2 victories, get Iran to back down, and magically, you can ride the electorate gravy train for life. On top of that, they’d have had the clout to convince China to actually intervene in North Korea (or so they thought).

    Only Iraq wasn’t easy, Afghanistan was left unfinished, and Iran called the Administrations bluff.

    Total politics, total pragmatism. The only thing missing from their plan was “reality”, with its left-wing liberal bias.

  2. #2 mike
    December 25, 2006

    Bringing democracy to Muslims will never work. They have no capacity for it. Sharia law is incompatible with it. Best policy: keep as many of them out of our country so we aren’t facing the substantial problems Europe is with its own Muslim population.

    I’m pretty much a paleo-con myself, but I wouldn’t count the neo-cons out just yet. I would be overjoyed if it were the case but they are a remarkably resilient and headstrong bunch. The corpse of neo-conservatism might still rise from the dead. In fact, “The American Conservative,” a magazine frequently critical of the neo-cons, just had an article on the subject:

    Joe Shelby,

    Total politics, total pragmatism. The only thing missing from their plan was “reality”, with its left-wing liberal bias.

    I actually believe the opposite is true. What makes the neo-cons so foolish is the fact that they were, for the most part, former liberals and still hold to a largely optimistic, traditionally liberal, conception of human nature. Like most liberals, they tend to emphasize human potential over human limits. Also, like most liberals, they seem to think that cultural differences amount to little more than superficial differences in language, cuisine, and attire. Like most liberals again, they haven’t bothered to really investigate Islam and still foolishly assume that Islam is just another religion like Judaism or Christianity and its adherents can be treated as such.

    Neo-cons and liberals both believe in nutty brands of “evangelical” foreign policy. For neo-cons it is attempting to bring democracy to those who don’t really care for it through force of arms. For liberals it is absurd “human rights” adventures like Kosovo that interest them. NATO is in Kosovo after all these years for a reason. They are there largely to protect the heavily persecuted Kosovar Serbs from being slaughtered by their Albanian Muslim countrymen. We prevented one slaughter only that we might eventually enable another. The only difference is that by intervening, we will have created another Muslim majority state in Europe. In due time, we may wind up with another Islamist, terrorist-supporting state. Whoopee!

    A few articles on Kosovo, the Balkans, and terrorism in case you are interested:

    In any event, may you all have a Merry Christmas! I’m already hitting the Yukon Jack and the Widmer pretty heavily today. Enjoy yourselves likewise. 😉

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